Desiging my CoA

 
Medugal
 
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Medugal
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26 September 2012 19:08
 

Hello,

As promised for the last couple months, I finally became a member so that I could have some assistance creating my personal coat-of-arms. As some of you may remember, I cautiously brought up a few design questions while I was an unpaid member, but if you don’t mind I’ll do a summary of my design process thus far:

 

I began working on my design without having pursued any study of heraldry and after a bit of work came up with this design (not my art):

 

http://i.imgur.com/O6u4B.png

 

After a couple weeks, I had time to both further study and consider my design, and felt it was pretty generic, so I decided to change design.

 

During my continued research and studies, I came across the arms of the Tucher family:

 

http://i.imgur.com/8Q2ey.jpg

 

I enjoyed the design, specifically the per fess bisection with bends in the top half, which seems to be fairly uncommon in the world of heraldry.

 

At this point I should probably give you a list of what I’d like to portray in my arms:

 

1

 

As I’ve mentioned in the previous thread, my ancestors in England were reportedly grave diggers (though someone with a better grasp on history mentioned that that task was often done by a church groundskeeper, however I’d like to go with the same idea), therefore I wanted to incorporate that aspect into my arms.

 

2

 

My grandfather on my Mother’s side, though not bearing any official arms, has always employed a bee on a thistle on a blue background as his insignia (correct term here?). I believe it goes back to the (disproved) crest of the MacInnes clan, which can be read here. Despite it’s origins being false, he’s stuck to it (if only because he’s used to it) and so I’d like to incorporate it as well… only I don’t like the idea of using the thistle or bee as charges (see tentative solution below).

 

3

 

Finally, with the considerations of both sides of my family’s pasts taken into account, I’d like to actually insert a bit of myself into my arms! As many of us seem to be on this site, I’m a high school teacher (supply teaching right now, with the goal of getting a job teaching English and History soon :cool:). Along with education, being the son of a librarian has made literature and reading very important to me. In my current design I’ve inserted this into my design in a way that will make some people roll their eyes, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

 

There are also a couple other ideas that I’ve had, but for the sake of not getting bogged down in details at the moment I’ll stop there and show you what I was working with a few weeks ago:

 

http://i.imgur.com/WaGMB.jpg

 

A very rough version done using my very limited Photoshop skills and the stain glass picture of the Tucher arms. Beginning with the colors, I wanted to include the image of the bee without actually using a bee, hence the or, argent, and sable. I wanted sable as the base, since it would look "best" in hatch form, and because it goes along with the theme of grave digging (the skull, also a huge nod, is buried).

 

I realize that or/argent/or etc violates the rules of heraldry, however I thought that it both looked good visually and would be a cheeky wink towards my audacious nature and propensity to follow my own rules.

 

This last version came before I’d inserted the theme of Education in my design, and in my latest sketches (which I’ll upload tomorrow, as it’s getting late) I’ve included two skulls in the base, with a torch on top of an open book:

 

http://i.imgur.com/lBjd4.jpg

 

***This isn’t my sketch, and was done by AHS member Dcgb7f***

 

My design doesn’t include jaws for the skulls, have included a border of or, and typically have reduced the open book to two blocks/letters on each side of the torch, which actually works well with the CoA of the university I graduated from, St. Francis Xavier in Nova-Scotia:

 

http://i.imgur.com/3RGYl.jpg

 

Originally I wanted to find a way to include these arms into mine, but I thought that might get overly complicated. I’d be satisfied with 2 or letters, however.

 

Anyway, this post has gone on quite long, and as I said I’ll upload my alternate designs tomorrow, but I thought I’d get this thread started for now! Thanks for reading, and I look forward to hearing back from all of you!

 
Jeffrey Boyd Garrison
 
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Jeffrey Boyd Garrison
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26 September 2012 20:57
 

As to the idea of having your shield divided per fess, bendy Or and Argent in chief and Sable in base, I don’t believe this actually breaks rule of tincture in any jurisdiction except perhaps a scandinavian one (and some few scandinavian heralds will actually defend use of this bendy background though most will probably fault it).

 
Dcgb7f
 
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Dcgb7f
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26 September 2012 22:07
 

The comment I left unsaid when I posted the sketch of your arms was that the bottom was too much. You have such a great idea going there with grave digger theme that including the book and torch cheapens your design a bunch in my view. Everybody uses a torch and book for education, which to me makes it too cliche. Quite honestly, your third design (per fess bendy Or and Argent in chief and Sable in base, a skull without jawbone Argent at nombril point) is pretty awesome. If you just stopped there, you’d have certainly one of the most—-if not the most—-unique, striking, and simple shield I’ve seen.

 
David Pope
 
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David Pope
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26 September 2012 22:09
 

I’d personally avoid the book/torch = education motif.  I think this smacks of lucky charms heraldry, and let’s face it…many "heraldry geeks" are either highly educated or have careers in education.

I vote for:

Per fess or and sable, in chief a spade of the second fesswise and in base a skull argent.

 
Jeffrey Boyd Garrison
 
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Jeffrey Boyd Garrison
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27 September 2012 00:00
 

Dcgb7f;95872 wrote:

The comment I left unsaid when I posted the sketch of your arms was that the bottom was too much. You have such a great idea going there with grave digger theme that including the book and torch cheapens your design a bunch in my view. Everybody uses a torch and book for education, which to me makes it too cliche. Quite honestly, your third design (per fess bendy Or and Argent in chief and Sable in base, a skull without jawbone Argent at nombril point) is pretty awesome. If you just stopped there, you’d have certainly one of the most—-if not the most—-unique, striking, and simple shield I’ve seen.


I agree with this 100%. smile

 
david
 
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david
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27 September 2012 09:00
 

Me too.

 
Kenneth Mansfield
 
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Kenneth Mansfield
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27 September 2012 09:30
 

I don’t know about most unique or most striking (eye of the beholder and all that), but I wholeheartedly agree that would be a very nice coat of arms and think you’d be hard-pressed to do better along that theme.


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j.carrasco
 
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27 September 2012 14:23
 

Yes.  That is a very nice set of arms.  I agree in sticking with this simple design.  Its very unique with a great theme.

 
Jeffrey Boyd Garrison
 
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27 September 2012 15:59
 

My only concern is that if you fly these colors on your yacht that you may be in danger of a boarding by the coast guard (or, worse, perhaps they are endanger of being boarded by you?). :yarr:

In b4 Michael McCartney could make the joke, yar!

 
Richard G.
 
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Richard G.
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27 September 2012 16:56
 

A very distinctive design particularly bendy Or and Argent .......

 
Medugal
 
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Medugal
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27 September 2012 19:56
 

Hey guys, I just wanted to pop in quickly to say that I’m unable to post sketches tonight, but will find time to do so tomorrow or this weekend.

I appreciate the comments so far- my concern with the "simple" design is that it puts a lot of focus on the skull, whereas having the torch/book in the center and the two skulls off to the sides gives the viewer more to look at and interpret.

 

Regarding the torch and book, I realize it’s a cliche’ in the world of heraldry, but at the time of design I was thinking in both the short term and long term. Though cliche by today’s standards, I thought that it would serve as something easily identified several generations down the road, and wouldn’t be as ambiguous as other charges.

 

Thoughts?

 
Jeffrey Boyd Garrison
 
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27 September 2012 21:35
 

Welp, I would err on the side of simple whenever possible simply because complex often means least memorable. wink

 
liongam
 
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liongam
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28 September 2012 01:28
 

Matthew,

Although ‘Bendy or and argent’ may not technically violate the rule of tinctures there would be a tendency for the ‘or and argent’ to merge at a distance which in itself defeats the concept of heraldry being used for identification.  One needs to think of the knight on the field of battle wearing his surcoat and carrying his shield with his squire or man at arms carrying his banner beside him.  At even at short distance, say, a hundred yards or so, your bendy field would become indistinct, especially on a bright day.  Of course, there are division of shields such as the arms of Herbert (Per pale azure and gules three lions rampant argent) which work fine, only because the silver lions bring out and counters the field of ‘azure and gules’, but if the arms of Herbert were only ‘Per pale azure and gules’ as I say there a risk of the tinctures of the field becoming somewhat fuzzy.  With this in mind, those who watch the opening sequences of ‘Downton Abbey’ will note flying from the flagstaff of the ‘Abbey’ is a banner ‘Per pale azure and gules’, although this is in the nature of a ‘house flag’, the flag is not too clear.  As an aside, the house used in ‘Downton Abbey’ is in real life Highclere Castle, the seat of the Earls of Carnarvon whose family name is Herbert.  It is none too clear why the Earl of Carnarvon using such such a house flag rather than a fully emblazoned banner of his arms as cited above.

 

With every good wish

 

John

 
Dcgb7f
 
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28 September 2012 11:29
 

Medugal;95885 wrote:

I appreciate the comments so far- my concern with the "simple" design is that it puts a lot of focus on the skull, whereas having the torch/book in the center and the two skulls off to the sides gives the viewer more to look at and interpret.

Regarding the torch and book, I realize it’s a cliche’ in the world of heraldry, but at the time of design I was thinking in both the short term and long term. Though cliche by today’s standards, I thought that it would serve as something easily identified several generations down the road, and wouldn’t be as ambiguous as other charges.

I can understand how the skull being so prominent may come off as a bit morbid especially for anyone (be it future generations or not) who doesn’t know the rationale for it. Perhaps it’s matter of finding a different charge to indicate grave digger, one that isn’t quite as morbid (a shovel perhaps).

In terms of longevity, I agree with the comment above that simple tends to endure the test of time better than more complicated designs. Simple arms remain distinct. Consider this. It’s very difficult perhaps even impossible to interpret designs decades and centuries after the composition since most charges don’t have standard meanings. (Things like crosses, crowns, or Stars of David perhaps do.) Cliche charges are the only ones that may keep some sort of meaning. Since cliche charges are fairly few in number, all these clip art programs and bucketshop designs tend to produce indistinct designs. If every person with French and Irish heritage used a fleur-de-lis and a shamrock, you’d have hundreds of thousands of shields that all look largely the same. A similar phenomena can be seen with schools and universities that have only just assumed arms within the past few decades. Decades and centuries down the line, whose going to remember who had a torch between two books and who had a book between two torches, and so on and so forth. But chances are, they’ll remember who had a huge skull.

 
Michael F. McCartney
 
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Michael F. McCartney
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28 September 2012 19:46
 

I’m with John L as to the Or & Argent—technically OK perhaps, but less than ideal.  Note that the arms which inspired this design had the upper half bendy of black & white.  The obvious minor fix (essentially an exercise of artictic license) would be to fimbrate the bendy pieces in Sable, whether or not that’s specified in the blazon.

Another option, keeping the same colors, might be bendy Or & Sable in chief and your white skull on Sable in base.

 

(RE: Downton Abey, which I’ve seen in passing but not regularly—perhaps the owner of the castle is more comfortable with just the uncharged livery flag when the castle is being portrayed as the home of some other (fictional) character?)

 
liongam
 
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liongam
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28 September 2012 20:03
 

Michael,

Regarding Highclere Castle by all accounts they fly this livery flag all the time which rather defeats the concept of heraldry, but as you say it is a matter of choice for Lord Carnarvon, Highclere’s owner.

 

John